Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reasons to Refinance

As your Lake of the Ozarks Mortgage company, we see many different people with many different real estate goals., such as purchasing a vacation home or primary residence at the Lake of the Ozarks, a recreational property (for hunting, or ATV riding), and even a simple refinance. You may not have considered refinancing your home, but there can be many beneficial reasons to do this. If you are even slightly considering this step, keep reading! Now is a great time to buy a new property or refinance the one you already own.

You Could Get a Better Interest Rate & Payment

One of the biggest reasons to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate and save money on your monthly mortgage payment, as well as the total amount of interest paid over the time of the loan. Because this is generally the most popular reason for refinancing, it’s not hard to focus on the rates and fees without realizing that you can sometimes save more by structuring your loan properly and creating a plan to determine when to lock, at what rate, and for how long. Do you have questions about this? We would be glad to answer those questions and discuss your options!

Reduce or Shorten PMI

It’s been over six years since the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) changed the way it required mortgage insurance for the life of the loan if you put less than 20 percent down. If you refinance to a lower rate and shorten the loan by a few years to a 15-20 year refinance, you may be able to get rid of your private mortgage insurance!

Cash Out

If you can reduce the interest rate on your mortgage, and still take cash out of your home to pay off bills or make home improvements, then a cash-out refinance may make sense for you. This usually involves refinancing your mortgage for a larger sum than what you currently owe and using the equity in your house as collateral. It’s worth looking into, because you may be able to qualify for up to 80 percent of the home’s value.

The money from the cash-out can be used to pay off high-interest debt or making home improvements to further invest in your home!

Reduce Loan Term

If a loan has a shorter term, it can often have a better interest rate. This means that shortening the term of the loan can significantly decrease the amount paid over the life of the loan. With rates being so low today, you could possibly refinance into a 15 year term and have the same monthly payment you had on your 30 year mortgage.

Buy-Out Other Owners

One of the most common situations that we see this happen in is when there are multiple owners on a property. In the event of a divorce, one spouse must refinance the other off the existing loan if they keep the home. But this can also happen if you own a home with a friend, relative, significant other, or a business partner.

Ready to Refinance?

If you think that refinancing your home at the Lake of the Ozarks would be the best choice for you, let’s talk. Visit our website to learn more about our mortgage company at the Lake of the Ozarks (, or submit an application to get started. We would be glad to assist you through this process. Now is a great time to get your home refinanced, or to buy a new home. The Fed is about to cut rates at the end of the month, and that does not guarantee home loan rates will move lower. In many cases, home loan rates ticked up a bit. Need to talk to mortgage professionals? Team Lasson is here to help!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712

4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065

Direct: (573) 746-7211

**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Most Valuable Step to Buying a Home - Are You Missing It?

One of the most neglected steps in purchasing a home is to get a pre-approval letter FIRST from your mortgage lender. This comes before house hunting, and even before finding your real estate agent. Why is getting pre-approved so important? We’re glad you asked! Here are a few reasons why you will want to have your pre-approval letter before ever stepping foot onto the first property.

Five Things You Need to Know About A Pre-approval

Get a Good Idea For What You Can Afford

Your dream is to buy a breathtaking vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks or maybe even your very first home - but your best bet is to start with your mortgage lender before ever day-dreaming about homes. A pre-approval can help determine how much you can afford, as well as what your Lake of the Ozarks Mortgage Lender will be able to lend you.

A pre-approval gives you the information you need to know about your financial situation and can make shopping for a home so much easier. When you know what you qualify for, it eliminates you finding a home you like and later discovering that it is not in your budget. It also cuts down on the time you and your realtor spend looking for homes in a price range you won’t qualify for.

Get the Upper Hand Against Other Buyers

Obviously, it’s probably more fun to start looking at homes instead of digging through your paperwork and submitting an application. However, keep in mind that pursuing a pre-approval first can help put you at an advantage when you do find the home of your dreams. If you have a pre-approval letter in hand while the other buyers do not, you may find yourself at a huge advantage, because the seller knows you are a serious buyer and have done your homework.

Pre-approval versus Pre-qualification?

These two steps are different, and important in their own ways. A pre-qualification will generally tell you much you qualify for, with a quick overview of your finances. This can be helpful but certainly isn’t concrete enough to agents or home sellers.

A Pre-approval relies on verified documentation and is reviewed by an underwriter to determine what you will qualify for based on your financial history and income. You will complete a mortgage application, have a hard credit check done, submit your income and asset documentation to your lender and they will completely underwrite the credit portion of your file to provide you with a true pre-approval. At that point, you will know that you are approved at a certain price point and can find the perfect property and close on it quicker.

Seek A Pre-Approval First!

The best time to get prepared for a home is after you’ve reviewed your credit reports and score to make sure everything is in top shape. A pre-approval is typically valid for 90 days, and it’s not a bad thing to get pre-approved more than once. So, when is the best time to get pre-approved? Before you start looking at houses… Even if you don’t plan to buy a home for another six months to a year, you can get your pre-qualification completed first, and it will give you time to clean up your credit report and build a solid down payment, if needed.

Ready to Buy Your Dream Home?

If you are ready to buy a home at the Lake of the Ozarks, Team Lasson is here to help. We are a highly experienced team of professionals, both with new mortgages, and second (or vacation) mortgages. Now is an excellent time to purchase a home, prices are looking great, and interest rates have been fairly steady. Even if you aren’t ready to buy your home for a couple of months, we can help you get prepared and ready to go!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712

4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065

Direct: (573) 746-7211

**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Learning Mortgage Jargon

Vocabulary surrounding mortgages can confuse the best of us. Whether you have purchased many homes, or you’re buying your very first vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks, having a helpful guide is always welcome. Team Lasson wants to make your mortgage process as easy as possible. If that means you need a quick guide to language and verbiage that you may hear throughout the mortgage process, then that is what you will get!

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) 

This is a loan that has an initial fixed-rate period, generally 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. After the fixed-rate period is over, your interest rate may change once per year, either up or down depending on the current market conditions.


This refers to a gradual reduction of a debt over the term of the loan. Amortization occurs through the repayment of principal.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR refers to the yearly cost of a mortgage including interest and other expenses or charges. Those additional charges could be private mortgage insurance and points expressed as a percentage.


This will refer to a written estimate of a property’s current market value.


Hooray! This is the conclusion of your real estate transaction. The legal documents will be signed, the funds are disbursed, and it’s time to get your keys.

Closing Costs

This refers to expenses over and above the cost of the property and may include items like:

  • Title insurance
  • Appraisal
  • Processing
  • Underwriting
  • Surveying Fees

Pre-Paid Costs

This is typically your home owner’s insurance premium and any escrow amounts for the insurance and property taxes put in your escrow account


This will be a report from an independent agency which details the credit history, including previous, and current debt to help determine your creditworthiness.

Credit Score

This is a mathematical formula that will predict the creditworthiness of an applicant. It’s specifically based on credit card history, outstanding debt, type of credit, bankruptcies, late payments, collection judgments, too little credit history, and too many credit lines.

Warranty Deed

This is the legal document that transfers the property from one owner to another.

Down Payment

A down payment refers to the difference between a property’s purchase price and the amount of financing you are obtaining.

Earnest Money

This is a deposit made by a buyer toward the down payment to show good faith when the purchase agreement is signed. This is typically written to the title company to be held in escrow until closing.


This refers to Tthe monetary difference between your mortgage balance and the actual market value of your home.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

This is a mortgage with an interest rate and payment that will not change over the term of the loan. If the market interest rate falls below your fixed rate, it’s time to contact Team Lasson at the Lake of the Ozarks to discuss the benefits of refinancing.


The balance (not counting the interest) owed on a loan is called the principal. A 30 year fixed rate mortgage is amortized so that the longer you have the loan, the more principal you reduce with each payment.

Title Search

The is an examination of municipal records to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of a property, determine any easements that may exist, as well as to make certain that there are no liens or other claims against the property.


In mortgage lending, this is the process of determining the risks involved in a particular loan and establishing suitable terms and conditions for the loan.

Ready to Buy a Home?

Team Lasson is ready to help you make your homeownership dreams a reality with mortgages at the Lake of the Ozarks. From first time home buyers to luxury vacation homes at the Lake of the Ozarks, we are ready to assist. Visit our website to learn more about our company, or you can apply for your mortgage right there! Now is a great time to buy a home, and Team Lasson is ready!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712

4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065

Direct: (573) 746-7211

**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Stunning Outdoor Trends for Lake Homes

As Summer is now in full swing at the Lake, more and more people will be finding ways to get outside and enjoy their yards. If you’ve been considering a landscape makeover at your Lake of the Ozarks vacation home, there are a few really fun things trending that you may want to incorporate. With a few changes, you could be enjoying your outdoor spaces even more through these warm summer months!

Keeping Everything Low Maintenance

This is especially important for vacation homes - which is an excellent reason why low maintenance landscaping is becoming so popular. From the types of plants to technology, and even groundcover, everything is low-maintenance now.

Plants & Gardening: If you’re looking to keep things easy, many are choosing to have plants which are natural to the region they live in. There are so many options available now, that it won’t be hard to minimize the time you spend investing in your outdoor spaces. Items can include dwarf size shrubs, which require less pruning, to native plants which don’t need as much fertilizer, pesticides or additional water. Succulents are also still very popular, not just because their appearance is trending, but because they are low maintenance, available in many price ranges, and come in hundreds of unique varieties.

Technology: Did you know that there are apps and tools to now help with making a low maintenance yard? Robotic lawn mowers are the biggest bandwagon to jump on this year - as the trend moves from vacuums to landscapes. You can also have an irrigation system added so that you are spending more time enjoying your space rather than caring for it. You can then program your irrigation with an app or timer so you never have to worry about it. The same programming techniques can also be used for your landscape lighting, plant fertilization, and more.

Large Scale Groundcover: This doesn’t mean artificial turf or cementing your yard and painting it a grassy shade of green; the goal is to use artful landscape techniques to turn large areas into soothing rock beds, stamped concrete paths, and even pavers with other natural ground covers like brass buttons, phlox, and vinca minor.

Everything Is Multifunctional

One of the biggest trends for the summer is creating spaces and features that are multifunctional. The idea is to make sure that the space or object can serve more than one purpose, like a fire pit that can be converted to a table, or a space divider that offers both shade and a hanging edible garden. The possibilities are endless, and these areas are becoming extremely popular!

Fire is HOT

Fire features are hot in more ways than one this summer. Fire pits are used as both sources of light, heat, and ambiance. These are perfect ways to create a space where your guests will feel at home and may never want to leave.

Pergolas For Defining Spaces

2019 is the year for defining spaces. Whether it’s an indoor space for working or playing, to an outdoor space used for recreation or relaxing, Pergolas are a fun way to help define a space, and are the perfect way to add a touch of luxury to your space. Some even come with all of the bells and whistles, like drop down windows, blinds, built-in sound systems, and even space heaters so you can stay warm once the sun goes down. Pair this with an outdoor kitchen and you will have the perfect place for family game nights, evening conversations, and a place to crash after a busy day on the water.

Make it Pink!

Pink is all the rage this summer, which isn’t a surprise, as Living Coral was named the 2019 color of the year by Pantone. Add pops of color with roses, petunias, zinnias, and hibiscus, all of which come in beautiful pink hues - perfect for a garden space. Blush tones are also really popular, especially for furniture, stone pavers, and foliage.

Bold Metal Decor

Iron and steel accents are definitely trending this year in the landscape arena. This has spread through accessories to functional pieces, and can really make your yard look like it was designed professionally. Sculptures and water features are also great ways to incorporate the metal theme that is so up and coming.

It’s Time to Get Outside!

Of course, none of this will make much of a difference if you don’t have an outdoor lake space to renovate. If you are still on the hunt for your perfect lake home or need money to remodel your current property, Team Lasson is ready to help you get the purchase ready and secured. Visit our website to learn more about getting a Lake of the Ozarks mortgage, and you can even apply to get started! There is still plenty of Summer left to purchase a home, so if you’ve always dreamt about buying a vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks NOW is a great time to do it!

Local Event Highlights

Looking for something fun to do at the Lake of the Ozarks? Check out these exciting events happening over the next week!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712

4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065

Direct: (573) 746-7211

**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.